UCLA thumped Fordham, downing the Rams, 67-30 in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
UCLA got off to a fast start by scoring the first nine points of the game. It became a little shaky when the defense allowed Fordham to close the gap to just three points. But that was the closest the Rams were ever going to get. The Bruins held them scoreless for four minutes in the second quarter and held them to just 4 points for the entire quarter. They were 19.4% from the field compared to UCLA’s 60%.
The Bruins continued to dominate going into the second half, only allowing five points in the third quarter. At this point, UCLA had 14 turnovers, but that didn’t slow the Bruins down. They made up for the turnovers by keeping the Rams under control using their height as an advantage with Billings, Rosenblum, and Burke. They let their foot off the pedal for a bit, allowing Fordham to make back-to-back three-pointers, which got Cori Close very visibly upset and she called a timeout. Despite her team being up by 30 points, Close still expected precise defense.
Minus the 19 turnovers, UCLA played great on both ends of the ball. They were able to switch between zone and man-to-man coverage without missing a beat. Instead of ball watching on the offensive glass, the Bruins went after second chances and scored 17 points.
While there are reasons to celebrate over the win, there’s still some tinkering left to do before conference play starts next week. While 19 turnovers won’t be killer against an unranked opponent, in conference play it could be. The team will need to play better defense if they plan on battling for the conference title.
Tonight, UCLA can celebrate, but, starting tomorrow, all eyes have to be on Pac-12 play. Consistency has been an issue for the Bruins, but that can’t be an excuse any more. It’s either bring home a conference title, or it’s time to take a strong look at the program itself.